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Headlines for Saturday, May 15, 2021

Lawrence Man Pleads Guilty in Girlfriend's Death

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 43-year-old Lawrence man pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of his girlfriend. Johnathon West originally was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 41-year-old Jennifer Mosby but he agreed to the plea deal on Thursday. He will be sentenced June 16th. Mosby was found shot to death in her home in January. West told authorities he shot Mosby after they took drugs together and he blacked out. He was arrested in Topeka when police responded to a domestic violence call involving West's ex-girlfriend.


Douglas, Wyandotte Counties Ponder New Mask Guidelines

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — The last two Kansas counties that require people to wear masks in response to the coronavirus pandemic will wait until next week to decide whether to change the mandates in response to new federal guidelines. Health officials in Douglas and Wyandotte counties said yesterday (FRI) they will meet with county commissions next week to discuss the issue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday announced that people who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks outdoors and in most indoor settings. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said the state will adopt the new guidelines, effective immediately. The guidelines say people who are not vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors.


Kansas Supreme Court Tosses Wichita Murder Conviction

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has tossed out the murder conviction of a Wichita man who claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot a man who had attacked him with a knife. The appeals court yesterday (FRI) sent the case of Casimiro Nunez back to the trial court in Sedgwick County for further proceedings. Nunez had been sentenced to life in prison after his conviction in 2019 of first-degree murder and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in the October 2016 killing of Antonio Guzman. The Supreme Court found that the districtcourt mistakenly refused to give the jury an involuntary manslaughter instruction and said that the error was prejudicial.


Missouri Lawmakers Pass COVID Business Protections

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have approved new legal protections against coronavirus lawsuits as one of the final actions of their 2021 session. The bill passed yesterday (FRI) would shield hospitals, manufacturers and other businesses from lawsuits over alleged wrongdoing during the pandemic. The bill now goes to Governor Mike Parson, who made it one of his priorities. If signed by Parson, it wouldn't take effect until August 28th. The bill would prevent lawsuits against businesses unless someone can prove they were exposed there and sickened by the coronavirus, and that the business was acting recklessly.


Missouri to Collect Taxes on Out-of-State Online Sales

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri is set to become the last state to require out-of-state online stores to collect sales taxes on residents' purchases. The GOP-led House yesterday (FRI) voted 145-6 to send a bill mandating online sales tax collection to the governor. Missouri is the only state with a sales tax that hasn’t approved some kind of requirement that out-of-state online stores collect them on items sold to residents. Buyers currently are still required to pay that tax even if online stores don’t collect it. But many people don’t know that, and it’s challenging to enforce without the help of retailers.


Missouri Legislators Allow Citizens to Sue over Police Defunding

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have passed legislation taking aim at the defund-the-police movement. A bill given final approval yesterday (FRI) would allow people to sue local governments that cut police budgets by more than 12% compared to other departments over a five-year period. The bill also includes other protections for police, including a ban on probation or parole for people convicted of dangerous crimes against law officers, firefighters or emergency service providers. Another part of the bill would make it a misdemeanor crime to vandalize a public monument. The bill primarily drew support from Republicans. Many Democrats spoke against it.


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